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5 Handy Tips to Stretch a Hat

5 Handy Beginner Tips: How to Stretch a Hat

So you just got a new hat. You tried it on, realized that it’s small and now you are here. What did we learn? Try before you buy or at least make sure that the measurements are right if you are buying online. But now that you have made this mistake (or if the company sent you the wrong size), you need to do something with the hat. It can’t just go to waste, collecting dust in a closet.

No, no. You have paid for it and it’s the one you want. So now you need to stretch it.

Wear it

Yes, sometimes this can be enough. Simply spend a lot of time in your hat and it will eventually stretch. Just make sure that you do this at home because a tight hat can look pretty awkward. Especially if it leaves a mark on you.

If your hat is only a little tight then this method will work perfectly fine. You can even make it stretch a little more by gently expanding it by hand. Just make sure that you don’t tear it and you don’t make it too loose.

Spray and Wear

This is probably one of the most uncomfortable methods to stretch a hat, but it’s one of the simplest. You will need a little bit of water and a hairdryer.

You can wet the hat by hand or you can use a spray bottle. It doesn’t really matter, but you need to follow a couple of rules either way. First of all, don’t soak the hat. That can cause the dye to flow to places you don’t want it or it can cause some damage to the material. The second is that you don’t need to wet the brim. Actually, you simply shouldn’t wet them. They don’t need to change in their size and it’s quite possible that they have something in them that shouldn’t be wet. Like cardboard in baseball caps.

Then grab your hairdryer and start blowing it. Do this until the material is mostly dry, but the wetness is still pretty obvious. And this is the point where you need to turn off the hairdryer and put on the hat. Yes, it will feel a bit weird and cold. But you need to let it air dry on your head because that’s the only way it’s going to mold to the shape of your head. Although, you can use the cold setting on your hairdryer (if there is one) and make the process faster. Just don’t put extra heat on the hat because it will start molding again.

If you did everything right then now the hat should be the right size for you.

Use a Football

Yes! We are serious.

This method is for those who don’t want to spend time stretching their hat, instead they want someone or something else to do it. Well, we have just the thing for you. A football.

You need to do exactly the thing you’re expecting. Put the football in the hat for a couple of hours so that it stretches it out over time. Obviously, you need a ball that is about the same size as your head. It’s very likely that you won’t be able to guess what ball would be that one, so you just need to experiment. Use a fairly small ball first and if the hat doesn’t fit after a couple of hours then you need to use a bigger one.

Repeat this process until the ball stretches the hat enough for your head.

A couple of tips if you plan on doing this: clean the ball thoroughly first. You don’t want it dirtying your hat or leaving permanent stains. If you want to be extra sure then you can even place it in a plastic bag and put it into the hat that way. Also, if the ball is someone’s who lives in your household then check in with them first. Make sure that they know you don’t want the ball out of your hat for a couple of hours. Because if they just take it then you were waiting for nothing.

The only downside of this method is that it’s way too easy to overstretch. If you don’t pay close attention to the size difference between the balls then you will very likely end up with a hat that is way too big for you. In this case, you will need to learn how to shrink it.


This one is pretty similar to the spraying one, you just use steam instead. But the extra heat can help sometimes, so this method is worth trying out. Although, it shouldn’t be your first choice.

You will need a pot and a hairdryer.

Simply boil some water in the pot and make sure that there is a lot of steam. By lot, we mean that it should be hard to breathe above the pot. (Please do not check if there’s enough steam by sticking your head over the water! You should be able to guess.)

Then simply hold the hat above the pot. Do this for 1 minute, then take it off for 30 seconds. Do this at least 4 times. Although, in most cases it should be done at least 6-7 times because nowadays hats are made of tougher materials.

The last step is drying it fairly well with the hairdryer and then putting it on. Just make sure that it’s not too hot for your head. We don’t want you to end up with a burnt scalp.

If this method doesn’t work for you then all you can do is use professional tools. There is no harsher technique than this one, so there really isn’t any other way.

Do it Professionally

There are certain devices that are made to stretch hats. They are easy to use, usually pretty cheap and can be used several times. And of course, they are available all over the place, you can likely find one in your local Walmart even.

The way you are supposed to use it is very simple. Steam up the hat first (like how we explained above), then place the device in the hat. Crank it so it’s pushing against the edges. Now, this is crucial: the hat stretcher needs to be on the hatband. Not above. If you put it any higher then it will leave a visible mark and your hat might be ruined.

But once you have the stretcher ready you just need to leave it be. You can let it sit for a couple of hours or overnight. Either way, at the end of this period you need to try on your hat and if it’s still small then you need to repeat the process.


Conclusion: How to Stretch a Hat

After going through the trouble of stretching your hat you will likely try before you buy next time. But it’s okay, everyone makes mistakes. And now, you even made it into a time when you can learn something new. Good for you, now you can handle such situations in the future too!

Which method will you try out first? What is the reason that convinced you to do so? Tell us down in the comments below!